Are vegans healthier than omnivores

In 2020, around 6.5 million people in Germany followed a vegetarian diet, which is an increase of 400,000 people compared to the previous year. According to the Allensbacher market and advertising media analysis, 1.13 million vegans lived in Germany in 2020. This number also increased by 180,000 compared to 2019. Frequent reasons for this lifestyle are for a large part of an ethical, but also of a health nature. While vegans completely rely on animal products, such as If you do without eggs, milk, honey and meat, vegetarians usually only eat meat and fish. However, vegetarianism can be divided into numerous types.

Both diets are often controversial in society. But how does a vegan or vegetarian diet affect the health of the body? The Meissner dietician Peggy Dathe answers this question.

Vegetarianism & Veganism vs. Health

"Diet is always something individual. I cannot declare one type of diet as good or bad as a whole. In terms of evolution, we are essentially omnivores. Therefore, we are anatomically designed for this. But this is not possible in terms of diet. For example, the gorilla is a pure herbivore. Its large intestine is also designed for this. In its case it is the longest part of the intestine - in our case it is the shortest. So it digests plants completely differently than us. My conviction is therefore that we are omnivores. But as I said: What is personally good for everyone naturally plays a major role, "explains Peggy Dathe.

"Whether meat consumption is healthy for the body, however, also regulates the quality of the food. If someone consumes meat from factory farming on a daily basis, it does not have any positive health effects. A vegetarian, on the other hand, who mainly eats unhealthy ready-made meals or chocolate, does not have any positive effects either. "

What is the most important thing in a vegetarian or vegan diet?

"If you want to eat a healthy vegetarian or vegan diet, this means paying attention to and compensating for any deficiencies that may arise. With vegetarians, this is primarily the protein. We mostly underestimate this and reduce it to muscles, hair, nails and connective tissue. However, we tend to forget that a large part of our immune, circulatory and digestive systems are made up of protein.

But you have to know that, for example, 50 grams of animal protein is much more valuable than 50 grams of vegetable protein for our body. In this context, “valuable” means that the body can build more of its own protein from animal protein than from vegetable protein. Simply because it is more similar to our protein ”, says the dietician.

What about the vitamin B12 balance?

"In the case of vitamin B12, a vegan without food supplements has no chance of taking it in through food, as it only occurs in animal products. After the vitamin B12 depots, ideally set up beforehand, have been used up, this must be taken in. eg as tablets, as juice or also as a syringe. The latter is most effective especially in the case of a severe vitamin B12 deficiency.

Depending on the diet of a vegetarian, he or she takes in B12 through dairy products, eggs and possibly also through fish. But sooner or later that too may not be enough and slide into the lack.

A deficiency in B12 often manifests itself in anemia. Symptoms are often paleness, tiredness and lack of energy. "

Is daily meat consumption or a vegetarian diet bad for the body?

"A difficult question. There is the carnivore movement, for example. People who eat nothing other than meat. Some are fine with it, but others cannot cope with it at all. And here we are again on the one hand with the individuality of each person and on the other hand with the meat quality, because we find hormones, drugs and the stress of factory farming in the meat and thus in our body. Everyone should pay attention to the signals of their own body and not follow any trends uninformed. "

Would you like to know more about healthy eating and its effects on the body? From now on there is a new topic every week by and with dietician Peggy Dathe on the Meißen city portal. Local to read.

Do you have a suggested topic for the nutritional advice series or a question that keeps coming up on the subject of nutrition? Then please send your suggestions and questions to [email protected] or [email protected]